Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday 27th. CFA Sunday 27th. CFA
Sunday 27th.

Morning fine though cold. Our season does not begin quite so threateningly as it did last year. I read Grahame in the morning and then attended divine service. Heard Mr. Frothingham from John 14. 11. “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works sake.” This was an examination of the doctrine of Mr. Ripley and an elaborate argument to prove that the evidence of the Saviour’s character was to be found both in the doctrine and the works, but the works most especially proved the supernatural character which the doctrine could not prove. My mind is clearly made up on this point.


Walk with Mr. Walsh and he dined with me. Afternoon Psalms 34. 19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” A consoling topic to those who feel distress, for myself I have no right to apply it excepting perhaps as an encouragement to exertion.

Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow from John 5. 37. “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.” A sort of general summary of the argument of the preceding Sermons, showing the character of Christ from prophecy, from his doctrine, from his works in which last he goes over much of the controverted topic in theology of the present hour. Evening at home. My Wife seemed better today. Grahame with whom I now mean to persevere.

Monday. 28th. CFA Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

Morning snow but it cleared very mild and pleasant. I went to the Office but did very little if any thing. Mr. Josiah Adams came in for some money which I could not give him but I gave him my Note payable in forty days which he is to get discounted at the Quincy Bank.1 I do not think this pressure for money at all agreeable. It disables me from turning into Cash, Bank stock I want to get rid of and which I cannot now sell without great sacrifice. I foresee the difficulty of the month of December will be considerable.

Out on Commissions for my Wife and then home. A letter from my Mother in good spirits.2 Afternoon, Grahame and clearing my papers. I must resume the MS labours directly. I like Grahame very well but think his omission of all account of the Massachusetts land bank very extraordinary. This was one of the events foreshadowing the American character.3 In the evening I sat with my Wife, and then redraughted my valedictory to the Advocate.


On Josiah Adams, see vol. 6:274 and below, entry for 24 December.


28 [i.e. 25?–26?] Nov., Adams Papers.


The establishment in 1740 of the Massachusetts Land Bank, at the instance of debt-ridden farm owners, and its destruction in 1741 by Parliamentary edict upon appeal from creditor-merchants presented an archetypal confrontation of forces which would be central in the American experience. There can be no certainty whether the significance of the clash to CFA rested upon its being an initial assertion in the colonies of the lawfulness of resistance to an act of Parliament or upon its being a primary example of the unresolved quarrel in the United States between advocates and opponents of a “hard” currency. However, the diarist’s continuing absorption in banking and currency questions suggests that his reference is to the second. A convenient account of the Land Bank is in Curtis P. Nettels, The Roots of American Civilization, N.Y., 1938, p. 533–535.